Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Life of a Dress

One of the greatest things about the vintage business is having the opportunity to give a piece of clothing a new life.  For someone to clean, store and lovingly keep a garment for 40 plus years, through all of life's changes in age, size, and style it must have been a piece that was so near and dear to someone's heart that they just could not bear to get rid of it.  A garment that evoked memories of a wonderful past just with a glance of fabric.

When I think about the pieces in my closet that I would not dare part with, they all have a special place in my life.  The silk cardigan I wore when I got engaged in Bryant Park, my gold leather mini skirt (YES!!!) from the first clothing line that I ever represented, my first piece of costume jewelry- a Coro amethyst rhinestone necklace that was gifted to me almost 20 years ago.  They all bring back such great memories. 

I still kick myself for giving away the dress that I wore the day I picked out my wedding China.  It said so much about ME that is still true today.  The dress was a Trina Turk watercolor floral dress dripping with color and trimmed in black.  I have carefully considered asking the person that I gave it to four years ago if she still has it, but I don't want to come off as completely crazy.  Instead I occasionally search Ebay to see if I can get my hands on one just for the fabric.  Because, you know....one day my daughter will really care to see the "fabric frame-of-mind" I was in when I picked out my Herend Oriental Bouquet in emerald green.   Now I am letting you in on just how obsessively neurotic I truly am.

Anyway, the gist of this post is really about the life of a garment.   We are particularly drawn to party pieces.  I just love to imagine the event that this magnificent 50 year old beaded cocktail dress was worn to, how the lady wore her hair, did she opt for gloves, did that little tear in the hem come from hours of dancing?    I could dream up an entire Hollywood scenario a la Copacabana proportions.  

It is really, really hard for us to let some things go.  Some pieces have such rich fabric and intricate bead work that just simply IS NOT MADE today.  We may have a piece for an extended time frame and I absolutely refuse to reduce the price.  I pull my hair and kick and scream that "NO! NO! NO!  It is too good to put on sale!"   And we hold on to "her" and then one day, she finds a new home and perhaps a new life.

We picked up this 60's beaded gown almost two years ago on one of our first buying trips to Florida.  It had a nice heavy weight to the satin and the combination of bead work and sequins over lame was just something you don't see anymore.  Everyone loved it at all of our shopping parties but it was teeny tiny and didn't work size wise for most.

A few weeks ago, "she" finally found a new home with The Cat's Meow in Midland, Texas.  Many may be more well acquainted with the store's owner- Mr. Steven Porterfield who is often seen on Antiques Roadshow as an appraiser.  Mr. Porterfield has a 4000 square foot store selling vintage clothing, jewelry and textiles to collectors, museums, fashion and film industries.  

*Photos courtesy of Antique Elegance

We hope that through him, our little dress will have the chance to live again and maybe even take one more twirl on the dance floor.

Till Next Time,

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